As we get older, the value of a strong core becomes more and more critical. It’s not just about 6-packs and what it all looks like from the outside. It’s about getting deep into those core muscles, the transverse abdominis muscles that are close to the spine, and everything that surrounds it.
A strong core helps to alleviate and prevent back issues and longterm pain, improves our posture, enables balance, and supports safe everyday movement – so important as we age (break falls, helps us climb stairs, carry heavy bags, etc…). So making it a point to strengthen all of these muscles is one of the keys to overall longevity!
July’s challenge is predominantly focused on core strength.
Some of you may think I have kept the numbers low. This is to make sure we are all paying close attention to form, and focusing on the muscle creating the movement, instead of momentum.
Newbies might thing the numbers are high! And that is okay too. What’s most important, other than the above, is remembering your head often plays silly games with you, telling you that you ‘CAN’T’ do something. Practice listening carefully to what your mind is saying. Are you TRULY at your limit? Or is it just HARD? Even if you can’t do the number suggested, each day make sure you are going as far as YOU can (this isn’t a competition with anyone except for your own self), and the next day take it one step farther. Also stay consistent. Everyday you complete the challenge, you are one amazing step closer to a miracle! Trust me! You won’t believe how quickly we can gain strength when we are consistent! And make sure to track your numbers.
For accountability, please join the Monthly Fit Challenge on Facebook where we report in daily!
Here’s the July Calendar:
And here are some descriptions for the new exercises you see in here:
New Exercise Descriptions for July!
- Lie on left side, hips and legs stacked and left elbow aligned under left shoulder, with forearm on floor.
- Extend right arm toward ceiling and lift hips, forming straight line from head to heels. (this is a side plank with hand raised)
- Tap left side of hip to floor for one count, then lift back up to side plank.
- Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and lift bent elbows in front of you at shoulder height, palms facing each other.
- Rotate torso and arms together diagonally down toward left. This is a slight twist downward. Take it slow and focus on the oblique creating the movement and not momentum. Remember, you are rotating both torso and arms, but the movement comes from the oblique!
Single Leg Toe Touch
- Lie down on your back with your legs flat against the floor and arms extended above your head.
- Lift your left leg up with your foot directly over your hip and a slight knee bend. Aim to keep your left leg engaged in this position for the entire movement.
- Tuck chin towards your chest, reach your right arm towards your left foot by contracting your core and hold for a split second.
- Return to the original starting position while keeping your foot and hand elevated off the ground and repeat before switching to your right leg and left arm.
Bird Dog Crunches
- Start on all fours, placing your hands flat on the ground directly beneath your shoulders, and your knees beneath your hips with a flat back position.
- Engage core and drive your right arm straight out from your shoulder, while your left leg drives straight back from your hip, keeping both parallel to the floor – and “reach”.
- Squeeze your right arm and left leg back to the original starting position, contracting the abs on the way in. Hold for split second before starting the second rep.
- Repeat this movement for the total number of reps without setting your right arm or left back on the ground, then switch to the left arm/right leg combo.